The children's picture book I recently illustrated, It's the Elephants' Picnic by Ronit Elk, has just been published and is now available at the AuthorHouse Bookstore. It's a beautiful story about a young boy, Cyrus, as he gets an up-close view when the circus comes to town and learns about how elephants eat. It will also be available on Amazon.com sometime in the new year.
Here is a sneak peak at a few of the illustrations...
Needless to say, I am very excited to see the book in print!
Just got back from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Southern Breeze chapter's Writing and Illustrating for Kids conference held every year in Birmingham, Alabama. I attended last year, and was so excited about some of the tips and people I met at the last conference, that I was anxiously awaiting this year's event.
Darcy Pattison was the keynote speaker for the event, and she kicked off the day of learning and fun with an inspiration speech about her career in kid lit. One things she mentioned that really stuck with me was "Don't become addicted to mediocrity." This is a tough business, and as an artist (or writer), one has to keep shooting for the stars. I thought she put this very well.
I attended three different workshops at the conference, the first being with illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, one of my favorite illustrators and one who is always so giving with her knowledge of the biz. She spoke about online marketing, and what she does. "You only have to be one page ahead in the manual to be an expert," she reminded us. Again, she stressed the importance of keeping up with technology and talked about her ideas on promotion and how they have worked for her. I took three pages of notes; my head was spinning when I left!
Kerry Martin from Clarion held the next two workshops I attended. She spoke more about marketing, and what makes good portfolios and promo mailers. There was a pre-conference assignment that most of the illustrators at the conference participated in. The task was to thumbnail the story of the Blue Corn Maiden for a 32-page picture book. We showed and spoke about our work, and Ms. Martin gave us some comments, and also shared some of the projects that Clarion was working on. The above image was a character rendering of the title character that I did also for the workshop.
It was another great conference, and I met a lot of great writers and artists who I hope to keep in touch with! Thanks for SCBWI Southern Breeze for another great event!
I just got back from a SCBWIconference, so thought this would be an appropriate find!
"Library of the Early Mind" is a documentary exploring children's literature and featuring interviews with authors and illustrators like Chris Van Allsburg, R.L. Stine, Mo Willems, etc. It doesn't seem to be showing at a lot of venues yet, and all mostly around the New England area. Can we get this in Georgia please?
Just finished these really cute square business cards for Tiny Tooth Designs. The back of the business card features a picture of the products that will soon be in their Etsy store. They are going to be printed 2" square with UV coating on the back. The design used for the front of the business card will also be used as a sticker for bags.
On Friday, September 3rd was a workshop I had been looking forward to for a while-- the annual Illustrators' Day in Decatur, GA held at the Decatur Public Library and hosted by the regional chapter of SCBWI, Southern Breeze. I attended last year and got a lot out of the event, but I was really excited to learn that this year's event was extended to include a whole day's worth of activities centered around the craft and business of illustrating for kids!
The event kicked off with a discussion with two amazing, award-winning illustrators, Rick Lovell (a professor of mine at SCAD!) and Bill Mayer. They spoke about their experiences working within the children's book market, tips for navigating freelance business, pros and cons of working with an agent, tips for promotion, and copyright issues. These illustrators have so much experience between them, and every time I hear them speak I gain some new piece of knowledge about the illustration business.
Loraine Joyner, Art Director for Peachtree Publishers, spoke next about the grabbing an Art Director's attention with promotional material. She brought in a flood of mailers she had received over the past month, which ranged from the amazing to the not so amazing. It was interesting to hear about what grabbed her eye. She also gave some suggestions for resources to help develop our craft. Lastly, she went through a manuscript and discussed how an illustrator could interpret text and turn it into intriguing and memorable pictures.
New South Books' Brian Seidman spoke about book cover design and the opportunities for artists within that avenue. They hire both a designer and an illustrator to work on their books. New South had some really outstanding cover illustrations, and it was interesting to hear about the process of how they are developed.
Mark Braught was awesome enough to help the first 25 people who signed up for the workshop, and act as an Art Director/mentor while developing an image for the topic "Something to Sing About". This assignment was great fun -- I thoroughly enjoyed playing (and singing along to) my favorite musicals while I worked in the studio. Mark was extremely generous with his time in reviewing my work every step of the way. He had some great tips that I will use when developing my work in the future. Below are some of my developmental sketches that Mark helped me with.
Sketch #2/Color Comp
Having just finished the art for my first picture book, this was a great event to attend and get me pumped for getting back to producing some new work. All of these illustrators in one place was very inspiring, and it is always wonderful meeting new artists and see their amazing work. It also set a great tone for the Decatur Book Festival the next day! I feel refreshed going forward, and now I can't wait for the Wik '10 conference in Birmingham, AL next month...
Been kinda quiet these last couple months as I've been working on a picture book entitled It's the Elephant Picnic. I am really close to being done, and looking at the dynamic, colorful pages all together has been very exciting. Can't wait to see it in print!
I started this for Illustration Friday last week, but didn't get a chance to finish it until now. Wasn't feeling the topic, so I came up with something goofy to fit what I wanted to draw: something a lil' western.
Just got back from New York this week. Took the trip to celebrate and see my piece in the Society of Illustrators' Student Scholarship Competition. The opening reception to the show was jam packed. Students, professors, industry professionals had all traveled across the country to see the new crop of illustrators joining the field. There were so many incredible pieces on the wall. The competition was tough: out of 6,205 submissions, only 194 were selected for this year’s Exhibition (that's an acceptance rate of 3.12%!). I still can't believe a piece of mine was chosen to be a part of this show; it is truly incredible honor.
The Society of Illustrators is such an incredible place. I had been a few times before, but had never been upstairs, where they have an absolutely amazing art collection on the walls, including a Norman Rockwell painting above a beautiful wooden bar area. I could tell many great illustrators have sat and discussed their craft over a brew. You could feel the history in that room. Made me love the place even more!
The next day, Pat and I set out to enjoy more of the city. Both of us had lived in Manhattan at different points in our life, but neither of us had ever walked on the Brooklyn Bridge until this trip.
We also got rush tickets to a very interesting, interactive show called Fuerza Bruta. I can't explain it very well other to say it's a completely fun, exciting experience, and a very unique take on theater. You'll have to watch the video and see their website. We highly recommend!!
...and no trip to New York is complete without a stop to one of my favorite book stores, Books of Wonder, a children's book store that is so beautiful. Lots of signed books, great author and illustrator events, a gallery of children's book art on display, and a section of rare and antique editions. On this visit I noticed that they even have a great collection of graphic novels-- I spotted Chris Schweitzer'sCrogran books!
Pat and I had a great time visiting the Big Apple. Thanks also to wonderful friends, some of whom made trips from various Northern places such as Boston and Philadelphia, to visit with us. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to see and catch up with y'all (southern slang intentional). I miss you!
Now time to get back to drawing! I have to keep working hard so someday I can have another piece at the Society!
CROSSINGS, my thesis show had a wonderful reception this past Thursday, and I wanted to share photos from the event. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone, and catching up with friends! I was also very happy that my family came into town for the event to see what I have been working on these last couple months.
My family in town from Tampa, FL!
The show featured work from Elephant Picnic, the children's picture book I am illustrating. The book is written by Ronit Elk, and will be published in the Fall by AuthorHouse. Here is a peek at one of the pictures...
Elephant Picnic is Ronit and my second book together. The first was a chapter book entitled A Surprise at Dancing Fields available online here.
"Crossings" will feature the work of Killamari, Renee Rivas (me!), and Fernando Vazquez, three SCAD-Atlanta Illustration M.F.A. students. The show runs from April 12th-17th at StudioPlex, with an opening reception Thursday, April 15th 6-9pm.
On display I will have several illustrations from the children's picture book Elephant Picnic, written by Ronit Elk, to be published this Fall.
Here is a little more about the show from our press release....
CROSSINGS marks the culmination of the journeys taken by SCAD-Atlanta Illustration MFA students Killamari, Renee Rivas, and Ferni Vázquez. Each of their distinctive voices permeate through their art, as they bring us works both personal and professional. CROSSINGS represents the place where these artists' journeys come together before taking on to more journeys of their own.
"Songs My Enemies Taught Me" is a body of work illustrated by Killamari, that explores the fall of the Cambodian culture and the country's current struggle to revive it. Mainly focusing on the tragedies that occurred between 1975 through supposedly 1979 under the Pol Pot regime, these works tell stories through a series of illustrations and paper crafts. There are many overlooked tragedies that occurred during this time, and the aftermath still cripples the Cambodian culture today. Cambodia has a story to tell, and 'Songs My Enemies Taught Me' seeks to make these stories heard.
"Elephant Picnic" is a children's picture book that tells the story of a young boy who attends a picnic for elephants put on by the circus. Renee Rivas, who is illustrating the 32-page story, will have on display several of the artworks from the book before it's published in this fall.
"New World Gospel", by Fernando Vazquez examines the ongoing story of what happens when two cultures collide. Being born in Puerto Rico, the artist shares blood and culture links with Spaniards, Africans, and the aboriginal Taino indians. In this series, the culture clash is expressed through a visual syncretism of religious art and symbols from Spanish Catholicism and the Taino's Zemi religion. It seeks to portray similarities between the two, to see the other from one's own eyes, and to reconcile two of the cultures that laid the foundation of Puerto Rican society.
The show runs from April 12th-17th at StudioPlex, located at 659 Auburn Avenue, Suite 143 in Atlanta, GA 30312. There will be a reception held Thursday, April 15th 6-9pm. Gallery hours are 1:00-5:00 pm April 12th-17th.
Hope to see you there!
StudioPlex - Suite 143 659 Auburn Avenue Atlanta, GA 30312
Been working a lot using Adobe Illustrator lately, but this recent project had me working a little with traditional media. I just finished a design and illustration job for a company specializing in edible landscape gardening and design. Created the logo, fruit illustration, and some print collateral.
Think it would be awesome to have your own blueberry or strawberry bushes in your own backyard? If you are in the Tampa Bay area, check Fruit of the Bloom out on the web or this coming weekend during Green Fest at the beautiful University of Tampa.
I am going to have to put this piece down for a bit before finishing, but I wanted to post it because I like the direction it was heading. The last assignment was to do an illustrated map, and I chose my very own Home Sweet School to draw-- very appropriate to do a map of SCAD as my last assignment in my last class in grad school. (Oh, don't worry...still have my thesis to do--not done yet!)
Just finished a set of stationary. I have been wanting to work again with the characters I have created for a nesting doll set a couple months ago. This was a super fun project. I love when I can create an illustration, and pick out different elements to create an overall concept and design a package around it. Below is a layout of all three pages of stationary (down the line I would like to do a fourth, which I already have an idea for).
At this point, I have really gotten pretty comfortable working within Illustrator, which has been a huge victory for me.
This weekend was the Arts Forum here at SCAD-Atlanta--something I look forward to all year! Because of Snowmeggedon, one of the presenters,Jon Foster was unable to make it, but one of my absolute favorite artists, Helen Dardik made it in from Canada just in time for our "beach-like" weather. Helen has worked on a variety of projects from animation to editorial to surface illustration (like some of the recent products she has done for Blue Q). Her style has a hand-done, clean, and quirky look influenced by Scandinavian design. Her work is instantly recognizable as her own not only through her style but by her signature jewel-like palate which makes her work so much fun to look at and moon over.
On Friday she gave an incredible demo on creating patterns in Adobe Illustrator. This is something I had done a couple times before, without much ease or great results, so I was a little incredulous going into the demo. But with Helen's method, it was so simple and fun! This is definitely a skill I will use again soon for pattern making, which I have really enjoyed thus far. She also gave great tips for designing. Then we had a chance to try our hand at creating some patterns ourselves (see above pattern inspired by a recent project I have taken on-- more on that in another post though).
Also, Bill Mayer, Decatur native and recent Society of Illustrator gold medal winner, braved the snow and joined the Forum last minute. He showed us some of his work, including some pieces from his children's book The Monster Who Did My Math Homework, one of my favorites, and his very loose stamp sketches, one of which won him recent honors. These sort of projects are particularly inspiring-- illustration doesn't have to be highly rendered pieces, but can be simple, beautifully designed "doodles" from your sketchbook. He also shared a special and very personal project he was working on, which was a real treat for us.
I was kind of bummed that the Forum got cut short (I had signed up for a portfolio review on Saturday, but because of weather conditions the school as well as local transit had shut down). All in all though it was a really fun weekend! Both Helen and Bill were so generous with divulging their "insider secrets," and were really awesome to talk to. We were extremely lucky to have them visit us at SCAD-Atlanta!
I have been working very tight lately, with a lot of more realistic proportions. I wanted to try something really quirky and fun, without all the over analyzing. I doodled this today during Illustration Asylum (the illustration dept's club), and inked over it when I got home.
I've known about the Threadless T-shirt company for a while now, and never really looked into submitting a design for whatever reason, so I was glad that the opportunity came up in my Vector Art class to work on a design submission. I came up with two ideas I was really connected to and worked on them both, even though I only was required to do one.
The first design I did was based off the nesting dollset I did of Animals in Space.I had this kind of disgruntled octopus character, and thought about setting him in space fixing a satellite and losing track of tools from one of his tentacles.
This next design was created for the "Threadless Loves" challenge in which the theme is to create a new trend for 2010 (jeez, could they think of anything more difficult to conceptualize for a T-shirt design??). This is a special challenge with a specific theme that I think they do monthly. There is a greater cash prize available for their selection of the best design. The additional caveat of the assignment (for class) was to do a two color design. (EEek! Color limitations!!) Which is actually something to be mindful of, since I read that Threadless tees have an 8 color limit to print.
The sketch for this design started out much different. My initial idea was to have the woman in a disappearing dress that faded into butterflies, but as I started working this one out a little more, i started to like the fact that in the drawing it looked like the woman herself was breaking apart into butterflies, so I went with that instead.
My experience creating entire pieces in Adobe Illustrator has been limited up until this point. I am slowly exploring more of the tools, and learning more about what the program can do. I can see so clearly how piece will turn out when I use Adobe Photoshop--I've adopted my own methods for working within a certain style, and I can visualize when I sketch out an idea how the piece will look finished. I don't feel that comfortable yet in Illustrator--the entire time I am drawing, I feel held back, thinking to myself, "How would I do this?" which leads me to making some different drawing choices, since I feel like I have limitations in the program. Through these different pieces I feel like I have expanded my ideas on what is possible in the program (especially through the second piece--I never knew I could get a weighted line in a single stroke!), and I look forward to making more new discoveries.
Anyways, long story short, please vote for my work (Clumsy Space Octopus and Made of Butterflies) to be printed on a T-shirt! You can create an account at Threadless and vote on other designs too, or submit some of your own designs. You make decent $bank$ if you design is chosen for print. I've really gotten into this site, and hope I can submit something another design soon.